Schools say no to prison money
Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education has directed Superintendent Veronica García to send a letter to the Educational Retirement Board requesting divestment from private prison operators ($TNM). The unanimous decision followed testimony at its meeting last week from Santa Fe Dreamers Project Executive Director Allegra Love, an immigration lawyer whose clients have been held in such prisons. "My clients are being tortured inside of these places," Love said. According to Jan Goodwin, executive director of the Educational Retirement Board—who said divestment could risk teachers' retirement funds—Santa Fe Public Schools is the only district to request the divestment, but the move is supported by state chapters of National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. The Educational Retirement Board's $13 billion fund includes $298 million that is invested in the Standard & Poor's 400 Index, which includes private prison operators CoreCivic and Geo Group.
New Mexico's Democratic lawmakers don't support outright bans on oil and drilling on federal lands, as called for by top Democratic presidential hopefuls. US Rep. Xochitl Torres Small tells the Carlsbad Current-Argus that she wants "responsible" energy production, but not an outright ban. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham echoes the sentiment, as does US Sen. Martin Heinrich. Heinrich said a total ban could shift production to places such as Venezuela and Russia. US Sen. Tom Udall says moving New Mexico toward renewables could be achieved through more stringent guidelines for hydraulic fracturing and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Santa Fe Magistrate Court only accrued 38% of the $1.1 million in fees and fines it assessed in 2016, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. The authors' reports say collection highlights the unreliability of fees and fines as a funding source for the courts and, moreover, "works against the goal of rehabilitation and creates a major barrier to people reentering society after a conviction." Santa Fe Chief Magistrate David Segura noted that the study's data didn't include the last two years, during which the court system has implemented monthly payment plans, among other changes.
Judge not yet ye etc. etc.
Speaking of courts, Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil, along with other judges, asked lawmakers on Friday for an 8.9% budget increase in order to hire five new district judges and expand pretrial services, particularly for magistrate courts. If funded, one of those judges would be based in Santa Fe; two would be in Albuquerque; and the other two would be positioned in Las Cruces and Alamogordo. Vigil and other judges also answered lawmakers' questions regarding criticisms of the court system, with Vigil characterizing judges as "easy target[s] for criticism" because their professional conduct code prevents them from publicly defending their decisions.
LANL gender equity
Los Alamos National Laboratory has joined the national Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy, with LANL Director Thom Mason laying out three actions the lab is taking to address gender equity. Approximately one-third of its 12,000 employees are women; 32% in senior leadership. "In joining Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy, the Laboratory is committing to actively working to bring more women into the field, amplify their voices, and foster a culture of respect," Mason said.
Jam on it
With winter sports season likely to kick off Thursday at Ski Santa Fe, skiers and snowboarders who like a soundtrack on the mountain should check out Outside magazine's "We Created the Perfect Ski Season Playlist." The article provides a playlist methodology for your day on the slopes (including the drive up the mountain and the après), along with specific song suggestions from Outside staff members. Yes, Lizzo makes the cut. C'mon.
Denver7 360 takes another look at the New Mexico versus Colorado chile battle, and attempts to use science and reason to determine which state's chiles are the best. ICYMI, this "question" was sparked by a social media battle between Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham last summer; a chile challenge of some sort was supposed to happen between the two states but, alas, gubernatorial schedules (and presumably duties) made such a public contest untenable. In its recent piece, Denver7 360 interviews a scientist about the different chiles and has its employees blind taste and compare chiles. Who won? Um, who do you think?
Let’s talk turkey
The Word can personally attest that eating out on Thanksgiving ain't just for tourists. Many a happy holiday has been spent eating non-turkey food and happily watching waiters whisk away the plates with no expectation that this turkey would be washing them. Whatever your reason for eschewing a traditional all-day sit-down, Santa Fe's restaurants have you covered. The Fork has the low-down on where you might find a traditional or non-traditional meal this Thursday.
Back to the Past
Over the weekend, CBS This Morning morning profiled the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, with CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen reporting on the railroad's history, interspersing footage from the journey with New Mexico and Colorado's 1800s history and landscape. "We'll see the world as it existed 140 years ago," John Bush, president and general manager of the railroad, tells Petersen. "No paved roads, no power lines and no parking lots. This is essentially a time capsule … of 64 miles of 1880." Earlier this month, SFR also profiled the railroad in episode 11 of the Reported podcast: "Slow Ride."
Today will be sunny, with a high near 48, and north wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south in the afternoon. And then Snow Week begins. Santa Fe has a 30% chance of snow tonight after 11 pm, with mostly cloudy skies and a low in the 26 degree vicinity. Chances of snow currently predicted throughout the week: 20% chance on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and increased likelihood—60 to 70%—straight on through Friday.
Thanks for reading! The Word enjoys reading tales about atomic sleuths and newly discovered old Los Alamos spies ($NYT).